Broward News

Chaos at Aventura Mall Movie Theatre After Reports of Gunman Saturday Night; Police Say "No Gun, No Shooting"

Twenty-three year-old Adam Jakowitz was watching the 8:30 p.m. showing of Devil's Due at AMC Aventura 24 Saturday night with a friend. He says they were sitting in their seats right before the movie was about to begin when a girl came running into the theatre screaming, "There's someone with a gun!"

"People started climbing over seats and running to the emergency exit at the front of the theatre," Jakowitz remembers. "We left too but stayed near the door and eventually went back inside."

According to Jakowitz, employees were flustered and confused. "The two employees I saw had no idea what was going on. I guess because nothing actually happened it was no big deal, but honestly I was a little disturbed that there was no sense of order or procedure."

Jakowitz and his friend evacuated the theatre but not the mall. They waited in the hallway behind the movie screen. Jakowitz isn't sure what exactly happened, or if the entire mall was evacuated or just the theatre. But he does admit he was nervous throughout the rest of the movie once him and his friend were let back in to watch it. "I was on edge throughout the whole movie," Jakowitz says. "[It] didn't help that it was a creepy movie to begin with."

He remembers the mall being unusually busy that day and it was equally as busy after the movie had finished. "When I left the movie, there were a bunch of cops outside and one of the glass doors leaving the mall was cracked. Not sure how that happened," Jakowitz says.

When Aventura Mall opened at noon Sunday, the mall operator that answered the phone claimed to know nothing about a gunman or evacuation of the mall or theatre but transferred our call to Aventura Mall security. "I don't know anything about that," a female security officer said abruptly before hanging up.

The movie theatre, AMC Aventura 24, was even more tight-lipped but at least did not feign ignorance. A young girl manning the phone explained that superiors were not taking calls and that the theatre's official statement was "no comment."

Perhaps the Twitter reactions explain the confusion best:

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Jess Swanson is a staff writer at New Times. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Communication and wrote briefly for the student newspaper until realizing her true calling: pissing off fraternity brothers by reporting about their parties on her crime blog. Especially gifted in jumping rope and solving Rubik’s cubes, she also holds the title for longest stint as an unpaid intern in New Times history. She left the Magic City for New York to earn her master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism, where she spent a year profiling circumcised men who were trying to regrow their foreskins for a story that ultimately won the John Horgan Award for Critical Science Journalism. Terrified by pizza rats and arctic temperatures, she quickly returned to her natural habitat.
Contact: Jess Swanson